Azuga – Baiul Mare Peak, Baiului Mountains

Azuga Gondola (1520) – Cazacu Saddle (1692) – Băiuțului Saddle (1750) – Baiului Saddle (1770) – Baiul Mare Peak (1895)

Access

Access to the route described here is from the town of Azuga. Azuga is a tourist resort in Brașov county, located 40 km from Brașov, which can be reached in 1 hour on DN1. It is 80 km from Ploiești, and 150 km from Bucharest. There is also a train station in Azuga. We will head to the Azuga Gondola, located 3 km away from the station. I found the gondola working even 5 minutes before 9 o’clock, when the start of the installation is announced. The starting point of the route is the top station of the Azuga Gondola. I paid 35 lei per person / climb in November 2021.

How did I choose this route?

For a long time I had on my list to return to the Baiului Mountains, but in the summer I usually choose slightly harder routes. I proposed to leave the Crest of the Baiului Mountains for the fall/winter. And, one day in November, I felt like going to the mountains again. In fact, when I don’t feel like a mountain? I studied the forecast, good weather is announced; then they added a slight probability of rain to the forecast, which made me move the invitation from Saturday to Sunday, especially since I was hoping to arrive above the clouds. The forecast shows that there would be very low clouds on Sunday morning, so I took a risk and set off. Risky, because I could get foggy all day, but that’s how I felt the moment and I felt it well, you will read.

Route Map

(click on objectives for extended version)

Technical Box

Difficulty: easy

Duration / distance: 3 hours / 7 km

Marking: red cross until the branch towards Zamora, then red lane

Water sources: there are none

Minimum altitude: 1520 m above sea level, at the start

Maximum altitude: 1895 meters above sea level, in Baiul Mare Peak

Difference in level: +420 m / -70 m

Remarks: accessible all year round, not during blizzards

1. Horizon tour at start

When we got off the gondola, I don’t know in what order we said “wow” and pulled on our hats / bandanas, jackets. We were out above the clouds, the wind was blowing and we had something to do here before we hit the trails. The view from the upper station of the gondola is magnificent: Standing facing the direction from where we climbed – at the bottom we had Sorica Slope (actually there are 2 parts, one towards Azuga and one in the opposite valley), on the left the path marked with a blue triangle, which was going up from Azuga (the recommended option when the gondola is not running, because the climb is difficult on the part), down at the foothills, houses from Azuga appeared through the windows of the white clouds, and on the horizon I could see the Postavaru Peak and to the right of it the Piatra Mare Massif. Up to Postavaru and Piatra Mare are the Garbova Mountains (according to some documentation part of Baiului), but now they were in the fog. Picture!

Neamtului Mountains

Bucegi Mountains

We go out above the clouds

2. Azuga Gondola (1520 m) – Urechea Peak – Duțca Peak (1715 m) – Cazacu Saddle (1692 m)

1 hour and 15 minutes / 3 km / red cross / easy

Ready to go! On a fence we read 2 indicators. One informs us about the route marked with a red cross that will accompany us for a part of the road and then continue on Orjogoaia towards Traisteni (5 hours). The other would be ours towards the Baiul Mare Peak with the options of going down in Sinaia or Posada. The authorized marking of the route is red tape, it leads to Posada, but it is almost absent from the route! Moreover, attention!, someone thought to be smarter than they should be and painted on the indicator here over the official marking the red band on the one with the red cross. The path joins Urechea Ridge (whose maximum of 1705 m we leave on the left) slightly uphill on a 4X4 road marked by tires in the alpine meadow of Baiului. An important characteristic of this route is that it takes place in the alpine valley and although it is technically an easy one, it can pose orientation problems in thick fog or blizzard. We admire Piatra Mare again, in the valley in close view the fog that covers the Azugii Valley, and to the right of it the Neamtului Mountains with Rusu, Stevia, Neamtului (1923) and Paltin Peaks. I haven’t told you about the best landscape yet, because we will continue to admire it throughout the day in different poses to put on the photo wallpaper. It is about the Bucegi Mountains, which we will have on our right, whose higher peaks poked their heads above the clouds, most of them, but also the Prahova Valley that separates Baiului and Bucegi, still remaining in the fog. Straight ahead we have excellent visibility and we enjoy the moving spectacle of the clouds and the whistling of the wind that sings through the holes of the trekking poles. Looking back, we also see what we couldn’t admire earlier because of the fog: the Susai cottage from Garbova with Piatra Mare in the background. I didn’t even realize it when we passed Duțca Peak (1715 m above sea level), but I noticed the prominent peak on the left of our road – Cazacu Peak (1753 m above sea level). Although the wind blows moderately, the sun warms our faces and ensures excellent hiking conditions. Another peculiarity of this route is the lack of permanent water sources, emergency solutions found in Ceausoaia Valley on the tin path on the opposite side of the Cazacu peak.

the signs near the gondola

Petru-Orjogoaia ridge

towards the Neamtului Mountains

Piatra Mare Mountains

in the crest of the Baiului Mountains

3. Cazacu Saddle (1692 m) – Băiuțului Saddle (1750 m)

0.5 hours / 1 km / red cross / easy

We are in Cazacu Saddle (1692 meters above sea level), where we have a first important branch. To the left at a sharp angle (at the beginning) and in a slight descent, the red cross marking leads on Plaiul Petru Orjogoaia to the village of Trăisteni in Doftanei Valley in 3.5 hours. Another 3 hours, still on the red cross marker, in the opposite direction at the beginning shared with our route, then downhill towards Busteni via Zamora. So we walk a little further on the red cross marking without the one with the red stripe. We are continuously following a very slightly upward level curve. We don’t feel the effort of the climb at all. The spectacle offered by the sun, sky, wind, clouds, fog, alpine pasture and the Bucegi peaks is total. The success of the show is that we are always above the clouds, facing the sun. We reach the second big marked branch.

 

Cazacu Saddle

above the clouds, facing the sun

Baiutului Saddle

4. Băiuțului Saddle (1750 m) – Baiului Saddle (1770 m)

0.5 hours / 2 km / red cross, red tape / easy

We are in Băiuțului Saddle (1750 meters above sea level). Here we read on some rather rusty arrows that on the right is Zamora Ridge, which descends to Busteni in 3 hours on the red cross marking. On our left we have Baiuțul Peak (1817 meters above sea level). Ahead is Baiul Mic Peak (1827 m above sea level), which we will bypass to the right in order to head towards the maximum altitude of the massif, Baiul Mare Peak (1895 m above sea level), and ahead, slightly to the right, permanently with a cloud of fog on my head. But you should know that we directed it to be discovered upon our arrival. Let’s see if he keeps his word. On the right, on the horizon after Zamora Ridge, we notice that the fog in the valley has risen from the level of the Prahovean localities and heats up a belt about the middle of Bucegi. Jepii Mici, Caraiman, Costila and partially Omu and Bucsoiu smile at us and the sun. Hello dears! No more red cross markings. From here we should go forward. The wide road is so clear that it does not pose orientation problems. But what to see? The red band appears several times, doubled by a blue dot. I was counting on my right hand, actually more father, because I didn’t have patience. 1,2, .. 22, 23, cyclists. A cycle path climbs from Busteni to the ridge and joins our road a little further ahead. If until now we counted other passers-by on the fingers of one hand, now suddenly we can’t even count the toes.

Baiutul Peak

Baiul Mic Peak

Zamora Ridge

Jepii Mici, Caraiman, Costila and partially Omu – Bucsoiu

landscape

the soup is being prepared!

5. Baiului Saddle (1770 m) – Baiul Mare Peak (1895 m)

1 hour / 1.5 km / red band / medium

Baiului Saddle (1770 meters above sea level). From here, 2 options open up for us. Let’s climb the supreme peak, Baiul Mare, or go around it (on the left) as we have done with most of the peaks so far on the 4×4 road. Baiul Mare peak was in the fog, which was coming towards us as if to swallow us. We responded to the challenge and bravely headed towards it, choosing to approach the “top” option. In the background, towards Baiul Mic and in the background of Postavaru, it was clear. In the foreground Baiului Saddle. We were entering thick fog. It’s better that we don’t see the slope of the climb. Not that it should be scary, but I have to see an advantage in the mess we found ourselves in. And I reach the top. Stronger wind. We also found a plus in the gusts of wind, hoping that they will disperse the fog… for us. My fellow hikers also appeared for the photo in 3. The 3 of us and the fog. We decide to stop at the shelter of a bank of earth.

Lunch break. As we sat down, the fog cleared a little. We get up, return to the top, … fog again! Pause again! Let’s go to course 2 (sandwich 2). And it shatters, and we get up, and we fool ourselves! What will happen next? … it shatters, oops up, with food in its mouth and I manage to take a quick selfie towards Saua Baiului. And yet, …., finally, the fog goes away from this peak. But the surprise! But what a surprise! I was NOT on the big top!!! I was on an intermediate peak! That’s the trick! Now that the sky has cleared, I also saw the top of the peak. Ready, up 2 feet, left, right, left, right. You don’t believe me if I don’t post the picture that the fog is gone?

We are approaching the ocean of fog from Baiul Mare

Baiul Mic, in the distance Postavaru

towards Baiul Mare, we enter through the fog

Baiului Saddle

6. Baiul Mare Peak (1895 m)

The superb steep Bucegi from left to right Caraiman, Costila, Omu, Bucsoiu. Yes, it is!

Let’s enjoy ourselves… But are we finally on Baiul Mare Peak (1895 meters above sea level), the top objective of our route? To be fair, we were not yet at the top, we were to find this one a few steps further. We are at the highest altitude in the Baiului Mountains (1895 m above sea level). Below us, on the left (to the west) is the Bad valley (Valea Rea), on its right edge, between the grohotis and the edge of the forest, on a grassy and strongly inclined flank is the place called Daffodil Meadow (Poiana cu Narcise), where at the end of April tens of thousands of daffodils fluttering in the gusts of wind.

But let’s now point out almost the entire Bucegi ridge: from the left, starting with Vanturis, Furnica and Vârful cu Dor, Piatra Arsa, Jepii Mari, Jepii Mici, Caraiman and the continuation I have already told you.

Caraiman, Costila, Omu, Bucsoiu

Baiul Mare Peak (1895)

Bucegi Mountains from Baiul Mare Peak

Comments

This route is part of the Azuga – Baiul Mare Peak – Sinaia route. We fit in well. We are about halfway (or less) of our shift, as we still have to go down. Two days after this story, it snowed on Baiul Mare and a layer of 15 cm of snow was deposited!

All the best!

 

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